Some days ago, we published an article on this platform that describes how the rest of the world leaves Nigeria behind in so many ways human civilization has made progress. How Nigeria never explores the entirety of our potentials found in mineral resources and every fixed asset we have. The trains were a part of these inventions and progress that Nigeria was a part of back in the 1960s. The trains of that time were locomotive trains that spanned the length and breadth of our country; Kaduna to Enugu, East to West driving the many agricultural wonders of that time. It was driving the movement of merchants across the country, encouraging trade and these were supported by the availability of coal in Enugu state and other adjoining areas.
By these times, talks and discussions about global warming and clean energy had not started so it was permissible in the world then but there was a definite chance that progress will be made in developing something more advanced than locomotive trains. By the 1980s when President Buhari had the first opportunity to lead this country, I believe, the trains were already disappearing as agriculture was equally being neglected for oil. The trains simply faded away and became a part of our museums and the moribund Nigeria Rail Corporation for taking pictures with history and being happy about it. Laughable indeed.
Speed Trains over Locomotives around the World
There is no doubt that speed trains have become the innovations of this present age; China, Japan and India have a made a headway in this direction. These are countries with close to same demography as Nigeria in population, poverty and development in the past half a century and less. China’s New Fusing Train became the fastest in the world of bullet trains having covered 1318 km from Shanghai to Beijing at a speed of 350 Km/h. This placed them in the league of fastest trains in the world but in 2011 after a train crash, they reduced the speed from 350 km/h to 250-300 km/h.
This train line cost $1 billion (6.6 billion yuan) in 2015 while the high-speed trains cost $360 billion. China has about 22,000 km high-speed train network which is the longest in the world and covering about 60% of world’s total.
France’s TGT equally has a capacity to hit 575 km/h but was reduced to 320km/h for normal operations.
India recently announced their plans to join the bullet train group as work started between Gujarat and Mumbai which will open in 2022. At speeds of about 350 km/h, journeys that were normally 8 hours will be cut to three hours. We have not even started talking about the Hyperloop train that will be faster than planes to become the fastest mode transportation the world has ever had and China’s move to build a flying train as well.
While the President was scheduled to launch a technology that the rest of the world (who use to be where we are) have left behind in Kaduna and people dying in the Benue region due to Fulani herdsmen killing the way they desire fellow humans. Our government chose to give precedence to the old technology and fading insights over the lives of humans. We are indeed great at condoling nonsense and fading dreams and technology that has become the history of the rest of the world.
The railway and train opened in Kaduna state to connect Abuja to Kaduna cost $1.46 billion for a locomotive train engine and we are jumping and celebrating when other nations listed above achieve same with the same amount some two years ago. When are we going to stop celebrating mediocrity when we should be somewhere way above the rest of the world? How can we allow leaders who clearly pillage us to keep spending money and our commonwealth on projects that are decades in the past and even spend more than those who build the most advanced ones in their countries?
China’s high-speed rail of about 20,000 km, the longest in the world covering about 60% of the world’s total cost $360 billion. The rail line from Shanghai to Beijing (the most profitable) cost $1 billion in 2015. Kaduna railway from Abuja to Kaduna cost $1.46 billion.